Citizenship Law of 1958

The National Law of Bhutan.

Having found necessary to amend the law relating to the acquisition and deprivation of Citizenship which has been in force till date, His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo, in accordance with the suggestion put up by the Royal Advisor, people and the monastic body, is pleased to incorporate the following change:

1. This law may be called the National Law of Bhutan 1958 and shall be effective throughout the kingdom of Bhutan.

2. This law shall be in force throughout the kingdom of Bhutan from the day of its enactment.

3. Any person can become a Bhutanese National

a. If his/her father is a Bhutanese National and is a resident of the Kingdom of Bhutan; or

4.a.If any foreigner who has reached the age of majority and otherwise eligible, presents a petition to an official appointed by His Majesty and taken an oath of loyalty according to the rules laid down by the Government to the satisfaction of the concerned official, he may be re-enrolled as a Bhutanese National, provided that:

i. the person is a resident of the Kingdom of Bhutan for more than ten years; and
ii. owns agricultural land within the Kingdom.

(b) If a woman, married to a Bhutanese National, submits petition and takes the oath of loyalty as stated above to the satisfaction of the concerned official and that she has reached the age of majority and is otherwise eligible, her name may be enrolled as a Bhutanese National.

(c) If any person has been deprived on his Bhutanese Nationality or has renounced his Bhutanese Nationality, forfeited his Bhutanese nationality, the person cannot become a Bhutanese national again unless His Majesty grants approval to do so.

5.(a). If any foreigner submits petition to His Majesty according to rules described in the above sections, and provided the person has reached the age of majority and is otherwise eligible, and has served satisfactorily in Government service for at least five years and has been residing in the Kingdom of Bhutan for at least 10 years, he may receive a Bhutanese Nationality Certificate. Once the certificate is received, such a person has to take the oath of loyalty according to the rules laid down by the Government and from that day onwards, his name will be enrolled as a Bhutanese National.
(b). Any foreigner who has reached the age of majority and is other wise eligible, can receive a Nationality Certificate provided that in the opinion of His Majesty his conduct and his service as a Government servant is satisfactory.

6. Any person who:
i. becomes a national of a foreign country and resides in that country; or
ii. has renounced Bhutanese nationality and settled in a foreign country; or
iii. claims to be citizen of a foreign country if pledges oath of loyalty to that country; or
iv. registered as a Bhutanese national but has left his agricultural land or has stopped residing in the Kingdom; or
v. being a bona-fide national has stopped residing in the country or fails to observe the laws of the Kingdom as per his National Certificate, shall forfeit his nationality.

7.(a). If a Nationality Certificate has been obtained on presentation of false information or wrong facts or omission of facts, the Government may order the Certificate to be cancelled.
(b). i. If any citizen or national, engages in activities against His Majesty, or any national of Bhutan; or
ii. When Bhutan and India are engaged in a war with some other country if any citizen or national or Bhutan is found indulging in business, correspondence or helping enemies; or
iii. If any person, within the period of five years from the day when he was enlisted as a Bhutanese National, if imprisoned in any country for more than one year, the person is liable to be deprived of his nationality without prior notice.

8. To implement this law, if necessary, His Majesty may incorporate any additional rules.

9. This law supersedes all laws, rules and regulations, ordinances relating to the acquisition and forfeiture of nationality from the day of its commencement.


Citizenship Act - 1958

(As revised by the Lhengyel Shungshog in its 8th session held on March 22, 1977)

Conditions required for the grant of Citizenship

1. In the case of government servants an applicant should have completed 15 years of service without any adverse record.

2. In the case of those not employed in the Royal Government, an applicant should resided in Bhutan for a minimum period of 20 years.

3. In addition, an applicant should have some knowledge of the Bhutanese language both spoken and written and the history. Only those applicants who fulfill the above requirements may apply for the grant of Citizenship to the Ministry of Home Affairs, which will ascertain the relevant facts and submit the application to the Royal Government for further action.

Eligibility and Power

1. The power to grant or reject an application for Citizenship rests solely with the Royal Government. Hence, all applicants who fulfill the above conditions are not necessarily eligible for grant of Citizenship.

2. Any applicant holding the Citizenship of another country, or with criminal records in other countries, or those who are related to any person involved in activities against the people, the country, and the King, should not be granted Citizenship even if all the other conditions are fulfilled.

3. A person granted Citizenship by Royal Government is required to register his/her name in the record of the Royal Government from the date of the grant of Citizenship.

4. All those granted Citizenship are required to pledge (ascribe) to the following oath to be administered by the Home Minister:

a. Henceforth, I owe allegiance only to His Majesty the King of Bhutan.
b. I shall abide by and observe the Rules and Regulations or the Royal Government with unswerving reverence.
c. I shall observe all the customs and traditions of the people of Bhutan.
d. I shall not commit act against the TSA-WA-SUM: the king, country and people.
e. As a citizen of Bhutan, I hereby take this oath in the name of Yeshey Geompo and undertake to serve the country to the best of my abilities.

Special Grant of Citizenship

1. A foreigner in possession of special or extraordinary qualifications will be granted citizenship without consideration of the required conditions except for the administration of the oath of allegiance.

Renouncement and Re-application for Citizenship

1. In case a Bhutanese citizen, who having left the country returns and applies for citizenship, the Royal Government shall keep the applicant on probation for a period of at least two years. On successful completion of the probation period, the applicant will be granted citizenship provided the person in question is not responsible for any activities against the Royal Government.
2. A foreigner who has been granted Bhutanese Citizenship may apply to the Royal Government for permission to immigrate with his/her family. Permission will be granted after an investigation of the circumstances relating to such a request. After grant of permission to immigrate, the same person may not re-apply for Bhutanese citizenship. In the event of an adult family member of any person permitted to leave the country, does not wish to leave and makes an application to that effect, the Home Minister will investigate the matter and will permit such persons to remain in the country after ascertaining that the country's interest is not harmed.
3. If anyone, whether real Bhutanese or a foreigner granted citizenship, applies for permission during times of crisis such as war, the application shall be kept pending until normalcy returns.

Procedure for Acquisition of Citizenship

1. When a Bhutanese woman is married to a foreigner, only she is a citizen, her husband and children will not be considered a Bhutanese citizen. If they desire Bhutanese citizenship, such cases will be considered in conformity to the procedure laid down in this Act applicable to foreigners applying for citizenship.
2. When a Bhutanese man is married to a foreigner woman the children will be considered Bhutanese. The wife will have to fulfill the requirements of this Citizenship Act as applicable to foreigners applying for citizenship.
3. In the case of Bhutanese citizens residing in other countries, the Citizenship Law subhead KA-12 No. 2 which is reproduced below, shall be applicable.

Reproduction of Thrimshung KA 12 - 2

1. With the exception of a genuine Bhutanese whose family domiciled in Bhutan but he himself had to stay away in other country in connection with works of the Royal Government, private business or religious practices but other who live in foreign countries, serve the government and people of such countries or have settled in a foreign country or holding official post of a foreign government are considered non-nationals.

Registration Procedure

1. All children born of a father who is a Bhutanese citizen should be registered in the official record within one year of their birth whether the children are born inside or outside the country.
2. All children born within the country are required to be listed with the Dzongkhag or the Dungthag of their birth. Children of Bhutanese parents born in other countries should be recorded with the Royal Bhutanese Embassies. Where there are no Embassies nearby, the information should be conveyed to the Home Ministry through correspondence.
3. If a child is more than one year and not registered within that period, registration is not permitted but may apply for registration to the Home Ministry by the concerned local authority. The Home Ministry will then investigate the matter before granting permission for the registration.

Validity of Census Record

1. All census reports must bear the Seal of the Royal Government and the signature of an officer not lower in rank than a Dzongdag. Other records will not be acceptable.

Enquiry of Kashog

1. All Kashogs with the people which were not granted by His Majesty will be investigated into by the Home Minister and reported to the Royal Government.

Penalty for Violation of Rules

1. Anyone having acquired Bhutanese citizenship involved in act against the King or speaking against the Royal Government or being in association with people involved in activities against the Royal Government shall be deprived of their Bhutanese Citizenship.
2. In the case of any person knowingly presenting false information at the time of applying for citizenship, the Kashog granting him/her citizenship will be withdrawn after due verification of the false information presented.

THA: Status of the Provision

1. In case of conflict between the provisions of this Act and the provisions of any previous laws, rules and regulations, provisions of this Act shall prevail.

Citizenship Act of  1985